Rainbow 5’s is a dangerous match-up. Typically you (Qui Gon Kanan) want to play a two cost upgrade turn 1, which often leads to little removal being played. However, five die villain, between it’s rerolls and nightsister pings, will completely destroy you if you don’t play any mitigation on turn 1. For this reason, you need to prioritize cards like guard and caution (although caution can prove unreliable vs intimidate), and even the more powerful 1 cost control cards such as Force Illusion and Overconfidence during your mulligan. While getting 2 shotos down on Qui Gon can be insane, this match-up is often determined before you would ever get value out of them, so I’d prioritize Ancient over shoto in your mulligans. Ancient offers more damage turn 1, and can also be used to heal if your opponent goes for Qui Gon first. If you instead play shotos, and your opponent kills Qui Gon, you lose all the resource value of that upgrade. On the flip-side of all this is the fact that you are actually quite well equipped to kill Bala quickly, and killing him will be your game plan for preventing the early loss. Cards like synchronicity are great for pulling off the early kill, or perhaps even an early riposte (this will both deal damage and prevent your opponent from potentially intimidating those shields anyway). All this is to say that the early game is incredibly important, both sides are equipped to get the early kills on key characters, and whoever gets there first is most likely to win. For this reason, you must mulligan aggressively for the cards you need, don’t settle for cards that will be solid turn two.
Mid to late game isn’t all that interesting, most games will be won or lost on turn 2. However, there are a couple elements worth highlighting. First, close quarters assault can be brutal. 5 die really needs to reroll a lot at the end of their turn to max out damage. If you can CQA away 2-4 cards it will often win the turn for you, both preventing them from mitigating you, and preventing their rerolls. Second, be aware of your opponents remaining cards. Ciena often sticks around for quite some time, so be aware of how many Tactical Masterys are left, and the unexpected damage they can do. Be aware of how many Bait and Switchs, intimidates, etc. are left. Third, do everything in your power to keep both characters alive. Your removal is much stronger while both characters are alive. Caution is the obvious example, but even cards like Guard and Force Misdirection are better with more dice in your pool, so by barely keeping whoever they’re focusing alive, you are able to continue to play removal much more effectively. Once you lose your first character, you are much more likely to take large chunks of damage, and thus lose the game.
Cards that gain value:
-Close Quarters Assault: The heavy reroll reliance of Rainbow 5’s makes any discard have a greater effect than usual.
-Overconfidence: Being able to reroll two 2’s is extremely valuable. While paying one to remove a single 2 isn’t that great, removing a 2 and also rerolling another feels like a much better trade off.
-Sound the Alarm: Having a 0 cost option turn one to prevent the “game winning roll” is extremely useful.
-Guard: 0 cost removal that can hit multiple dice turn 1 is incredibly useful for preventing the early deaths.
-Force illusion: Rainbow 5’s has plenty of shield hate, but no unblockable damage, and lots and lots of modifiers. This is easily the best removal you can have turn 2.
Cards that lose value:
-Shoto Lightsaber: Shoto is a turn two upgrade. You play it on Qui Gon turn one, then turn two you drop your other Shoto and it’s the craziest value you can get out of 4 resources. However, against Rainbow 5’s, if you drop Shoto on Qui Gon turn one, they could easily deal 7+ damage to him. When you come to turn two you can’t play that second Shoto, because if you do, and they kill Qui Gon, Kanan won’t win you the game with no upgrades on him.
-Caution: While you still want this turn one, Rainbow 5’s has some very strong shield hate in Intimidate and Suppressing Fire.
-Force Misdirection: Don’t get me wrong, this card can still blow out Rainbow 5’s, especially with Kanan’s ranged side, or random blanks/resources. However, your easiest Misdirection target is melee, and that won’t ever hit.
-Concentrate: Die fixing cards are great for the slugfest matches of R2P2 and the mirror match. You typically have extra resources sitting around turns 4+ and being able to Force Speed into Concentrate could give you that unexpected burst that wins you the game. However, Rainbow 5’s match-ups are much much faster games, and having a dead card early is just not an option.